Parshas Ki Sisa
Shemos 30:11 - 34:35

The Insurgents ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This study is offered in the loving memory of Mr. Paul Sakash, may he rest in peace.

B'nei Yisroel has taken quite a beating during parshas Ki Sisa because of the golden calf issue. This was a very serious sin on our part. Down through the years we have beaten ourselves up plenty over this error when in fact we need to be looking back, analyzing what brought this on, correct it, guard against it and go on.

There are a few facts that we need to realize:

52 days passed from the time we were delivered from Mitzriam by the Alm-ghty power of Hashem until 7 Sivan when Moshe went up on Har Sinai to receive Ha Torah. During these 52 days we experienced:
The conclusion of the ten plagues
Our deliverance from Mitzriam
The parting of the Sea of Reeds
Total destruction of Pharaoh's army
Hashem guiding us with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day
The sweetening of the water at Marsh
Manna covering the ground six mornings each week
Swarms of quail covering the earth by evening
Water gushing forth from the rock at Rephidim
The confrontation and battle with Amalek
The establishment of a legal system
Preparation for us as a nation to meet Hashem
Preparation for us as a nation to receive Ha Torah
Moshe climbing Har Sinai

Ever since Hashem delivered us from Mitzriam, B'nei Yisroel has been faced with professional, aggressive insurgents whose goals were and still are to turn us, the Jewish people, away from worshiping Hashem and towards other forms of religious worship, idolatry, etc. They were not Jews. They were not Torah observant. They were observers... They were reporters... They were insurgents... Spiritualist observers of Ha Torah face similar problems.

At every difficulty, these non Jewish insurgents were there to do what they do best. They created commotion, discord, strife, confusion. They attempted to disrupt B'nei Yisroel’s service to Hashem. They tried to inhibit and prevent / stop B'nei Yisroel from receiving Ha Torah and journeying to Eretz Canaan. They used every situation to make a stumbling block for us. Unfortunately they were effective.

How could so much evil be accomplished in such a short time? How could things get so out of hand in just hours? An evil idea was formed. Aharon was consulted. Gold was solicited, found, collected, formed into the image of a calf, finished and worshiped within hours...

While B'nei Yisroel learned Torah, observed Shabbos and awaited Moshe’s return, the insurgents made plans to stir it up. They devised schemes. Everything was in place. By the sixth hour on what may have been the fortieth day they went into action.

Unfortunately we continue to be plagued by these insurgents.

Many years ago when I was a Messianic I published literature, produced radio programs, sat on an executive missionary board over 80 congregations, assisted in establishing new Messianic congregations and assisted in teaching insurgents. After doing teshuvah. I openly confessed to the Jewish community who I was, my actions and my sorrow for these actions. Then I lived in that community.

Years later, a community member got a tip that a certain class in our community had a sudden surge in attendance. This peaked our interest. As it happened one evening our normal study group was canceled. We decided to visit this study to see what was going on. We walked into the home where the study would soon begin. We had visited this home before and had learned with the individual giving the lessons. The individual who offered the classes was a frum Jew who worked in Jewish outreach. He was a sofer. He is a good man. Insurgents look for good men who will teach them. Insurgents visit our web sites and other Jewish web sites daily, hourly. We are in constant confrontation with them.

That evening after entering the house, I walked to the office of this individual. He was in the office with several men. He was assisting one man in learning how to put tefillin on. The man he was assisting was NOT Jewish. He was an insurgent. He was a Messianic pastor. Years ago we worked together as Messianics. He was termed a scout. He would infiltrate Jewish studies at shuls, community centers, etc., then teach the information that he learned to other Messianic insurgents.

He immediately recognized me and I him. I began to tremble with anger. After identifying him I wandered through the house carefully looking at each participant to see if there were others. There were. Next I asked this individual his name. He made minor but effective changes to his name. The name he gave me was Jewish but it was not his actual name. I asked him in the presence of everyone if he was a Messianic pastor. HE DENIED IT! I asked him if he had ever been involved with Messianics. Again he denied it. Then I said to him, ‘I want to see you outside NOW!!’ We went outside. He closed the door behind him as we stepped onto the front patio. Immediately he began begging me not to reveal his identity. He offered several stories which were lies! After a brief discussion I requested that the leader of the class come outside with us. The leader was angry with my chutzpah. I informed him who this individual was. His first reaction was one of denial. He refused to believe me. I demanded that he immediately close the class. We needed to make a determination of who the insurgents were and what they had learned and other information. He refused.

While I was addressing this problem outside the house my friend was addressing the problem inside the house. We made no progress on this issue so we went to the home of the Rav of our community. We immediately explained what had happened. While we were there the Rav spoke with the class leader by phone. The Rav instructed him in no uncertain terms to CLOSE THE CLASS! He also said that we would return and that he was to provide us with information on each class member.

Later the class leader apologized over and over again. He was sincere. He cooperated with us completely from that point on. Later his class resumed but under stricter guidelines.

Unfortunately this story does not end here. Later we learned that this individual and his family received a reform conversion.

Now we jump a number of years down the road to last week. {This was 5760.} I was informed that this individual has established a dozen Messianic congregations, that he buys thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from local Jewish bookstores and that he is on the internet teaching non Jews how to wear tefillin.

Classmates, this was what B'nei Yisroel faced when they left Mitzriam and this is what we face today, 3,500 years later.

When B'nei Yisroel was delivered from Mitzriam thousands of Pharaoh loyalists went out with us. They have hindered us ever since.

That being the situation, why was it necessary for all the men twenty and over to die in the Ba Mid Bar? If B'nei Yisroel didn’t form the idea, if B'nei Yisroel didn’t consult and pressure Aharon, if B'nei Yisroel didn’t solicit, collect or form the image of the golden calf, what did they do?

B'nei Yisroel did not stop the evil. We allowed the evil to grow in our presence. We allowed the evil to develop. We allowed the evil to develop a root in our lives, G-d forbid.
This is what is meant when we read,
‘‘And spoke Hashem to Moshe, ‘Go down, for your people have become corrupt [those] that you brought up from the land of Mitzriam.’’’ Shemos 32:7

Rashi explains that the statement ‘your people’ refers to the insurgents. Ha Torah does not say: ‘The people have become corrupt,’ but, rather: ‘Your people.’ ‘{It was} the riffraff whom you {Moshe} accepted, on your own accord, and you accepted as proselytes without consulting Me {Hashem}, and you thought it good that proselytes be joined to the Shechinah -- they have become corrupt and have corrupted others.’ {G-d forbid}.

It was these people, the insurgents that said,
‘These are your gods Yisroel that brought you from the land of Mitzriam’ Shemos 32:4

When we are NOT careful, when we allow these problems to grow among us, WE WILL SUFFER FOR IT, G-d forbid. B'nei Yisroel suffered for allowing these insurgents to live among them. B'nei Yisroel suffered because some of us were persuaded to participate along with the insurgents in worshiping the golden calf. About three thousand people worshiped the golden calf and about three million Jews let it happen, G-d forbid!

This is why at JewishPath we have a section entitled ‘Response To Missionaries.’ This is why B’nai Noach Torah Institute offers a course entitled ‘Messianic challenge’ and other such courses. We could have just as easily entitled these areas Response to Insurgents!

Classmate, it is wrong to intermarry. It is wrong to date outside of Yiddishkeit. It is wrong to look the other way! It is wrong to invite these types of problems into our lives, into our families, into our community and into Judaism. Hashem was saying to B'nei Yisroel and to Moshe, its leader, that it is NOT ENOUGH to just live as Jews and to learn as Jews. We Jews must understand that we are a consecrated people. G-d has separated us from all other people of the world. G-d has given us Ha Torah. G-d has commanded us to follow Ha Torah. G-d has given us the Shabbos. G-d has commanded us to observe the Shabbos. G-d has give us Kashrus. G-d has commanded us to observe Kashrus... Spiritualists must also be wary of these types of people.

What is normal for us is not normal for the rest of the world. We were created to be different. We were created to be separate. Yet we keep inviting problems into our lives and our problems keep attempting to turn us away from serving Hashem and from observing Ha Torah.

Dear Jewish classmates, we have done this to ourselves.... So how can we correct our problem? What should we do? What resources are available to us? Well, there is a challenge placed before each of us. That challenge is simply defined in Ha Torah as LIVE SEPARATE! Do Shuvah! If we intermingle we assimilate. If we assimilate we neutralize, if we neutralize every vitamin, nutrient and mineral of Judaism in our lives is in danger of being lost, G-d forbid. We will be assigned to wander in the wilderness until we die, G-d forbid!

Wishing you the best,

Blessings and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Written 5760
Updated 5764

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